Monday, July 07, 2008

What the heck happened to Canon?

As a rank amateur I’ve been asking about what the heck is wrong with Canon since they failed to boost light sensitivity in their low-end dSLRs.

Now the pros are beating on Canon for light sensitivity, auto-focus, and reliability (emphases mine) …

The D3, D700 and Canon - James Duncan Davidson

… I think the very next camera that Canon releases, which better be a 5D replacement at this point, is going to say a lot about how they intend to meet Nikon’s resurgence. If the 5D replacement is just a freshen up of the 30D to 40D variety and which doesn’t meet the challenge that the D700 brings, then Canon will be telegraphing that they’re happy with their market position selling the crap out of the Rebel XSi without worrying about the higher end. On the other hand, if they release a competent contender, then we’ve still got a two horse race.

What will be a competent 5D replacement? At a minimum, it has to have usable ISO 6400 that is as good as ISO 1600 on the current 5D and it has to have pro-level autofocus. I don’t care about more pixels at this point, though I won’t complain about a 16 megapixel sensor. Even with a larger sensor, it is the twin metrics of low to high ISO quality—two more stops at least over the current 5D—and capable autofocus performance that will tell the story. Anything below this threshold will say volumes about the direction in which Canon intends to take the platform…

Sorry James, Canon is in trouble at the low-end too.

Where did they go wrong? To me their biggest issue is sensor light sensitivity. Presumably they can fix the reliability issues, and some of their pro camera are felt to have good autofocus. The sensor though, is a scientific and technical challenge. If they can’t meet that challenge, Nikon will own dSLR business.

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